I can not sit quietly anymore against all of the hate online for elopements. I often blog about reasons to elope, how to involve your family and what to expect out of the experience of eloping to put out the positive vibes of choosing to elope. Today I am tearing down the false impressions of eloping and hatred found online about elopements. As an elopement photographer I witness first hand my couples wedding day up close and personal. I am there through it all with them and I get to capture some of the most special moments between two people and within their relationship. I have also photographed many weddings in my past and I find couples that elope have no different or less than of a bond than those couples that choose to elope. As a person in the wedding/elopement business, but also a person that cares about humans and connection it makes me angry that there are so many people on line putting down the choice of eloping. Let’s break this down…
Choosing to elope has nothing to do with your family. The choice to elope comes from what type of wedding day you want to have and what type of experience you want to start your marriage off. You may or may not want family at your elopement, but even this choice does not have to stem from if they approve of your marriage or not. There is a standard floating the web that weddings are about family coming together, but truthfully weddings are about two people joining each other for the rest of their lives in marriage, I repeat two people.
Yes, weddings are crazy expensive. The average wedding cost in the United States right now is currently around $40,000 according to many online sources. Yes, eloping can be cheaper, but this is not always the case. Choosing to elope gives you the freedom to get married however you wish. Some couples may choose to fly to a different country then take a helicopter to the highest mountain and say their vows in designer attire with the best of the best photographer. Cheaper? No. I am not saying money is never a reason, but again it is not a reason to choose to elope. The average cost of a destination wedding or in my world an adventure elopement is said to be around $28,000. Budget is something you decide no matter what and you can get married traditionally at a wedding for as low as you want based on choices like venue and vendors, so eloping should not come second choice to a wedding being too expensive.
Oh man, so I came across a blog called Start Marriage Off Right which started this whole heated thing for me. Yes, marriage has biblical significance to those getting married that are religious, I am not denying that. I understand that the wedding is apart of the marriage. This statement has nothing to do with choosing to elope though and it is being used as a point to turn couples away from eloping. I have photographed an elopement where the preacher from the couples childhood hiked with us up a mountain and married them in front of their closest friends and family. I have also photographed an elopement where the sister became an ordained minister and conducted a traditional Jewish ceremony in front of their parents. Eloping does not steal the option away from couples to have a religious wedding day.
This being said, even if you choose not to have a religious type or formal vow reading on your elopement day does not make you wedding or marriage any less in a biblical stand point. You are in nature, the purest places on earth vowing to be together forever. The day is what you make it and means what you want it to.
Yes, most of the time at elopements it is just the two of you. Your witnesses may be your photographer, you may not know your officiant on a personal level or you may have done the paperwork in the courthouse and then eloped. This does not mean that your love or marriage is not witnessed and valued by your friends and family. The elopement day is special, just like a wedding day and if you want it to be a private moment between you and your partner that is fine! This does not mean that you can not celebrate and share with friends and family afterwards or before. Eloping also does not always mean that you are alone on your wedding day. You can have friends and family there to witness the moment and that is up to you!
WHEW I am boiling over here you guys, no they are not selfish! How selfish is it to expect to be at a couples wedding day, the most intimate special day in their lives together??? So many times when I used to work with couples for traditional weddings so much of the day was about other people or decor and other choices made on the wedding day were made out guilt put on them by friends and family. Choosing to elope is not selfish. I just can not say it enough. I know guests are excited for the couple and want to be apart of the moment with them, but thing about it this way, it’s their marriage. Do you want to be apart of their most intimate argument, no. If you take the wedding aspect out of it and just think about the marriage you may see a different side of it. If you care deeply enough about the couple have dinner or something with them after and ask to see the photos, ask them about the day and share the memories together. How special is that, like a one on one reception?! It is more selfish to tell people what they should and should not do and put outside expectations on peoples love life.
Choosing to elope is a big a choice to make. Eloping is not your traditional wedding day and it is not for everyone. That being said what is a good reason not to elope? If you have always dreamed of the big fancy wedding with the dances and the walk down the isle do not force yourself to have a wedding day different than your dreams. If the images are what appeal to you about eloping but nothing else, have a wedding and you can always do a honeymoon session or anniversary session later down the road. Eloping is not about the photos, it is about the experience.
I do believe that eloping is the most connective, intimate way to start off your marriage. Sometimes it is hard to find the words to truly express what I see in front of my camera on elopement days with couples. There is a sense of peace, love, connection and wholeness between the couples. Eloping is the most unique way to say I do because you can design a day that is perfect for just the two of you. This could be a day with just you two hiking to the mountain top before sunrise to say your vows at the start of a new day or it could be the two of you and a few close friends and family sailing across the sea. Eloping can be anything you want it to be. Choose to elope for the right reasons and stop reading the terrible bullsh*t online. If you are considering eloping, but not sure or have questions reach out to the photographer you are considering and ask away! Always feel free to drop a question in the comments of the blog post too, I always answer them!
It is my goal to help couples begin their married life together with a ceremony best suited for them and their relationship by providing a safe, non-judgmental space for couples to celebrate their day. From connection to capture, I’ll be with you every step of the way.